Clarke fifth in GC after Amgen Tour of California opener
McCabe best stage finisher on day one
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling had a successful start to its Amgen Tour of California campaign with Jonny Clarke riding himself into fifth place on GC after spending the day in a four man breakaway.
“It was a good day,” said Clarke, who got up the road with Floris Gerts (BMC) Ben Wolfe (Jelly Belly) and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk). “We were planning for Daniel Eaton to get in the breakaway, but I ended up getting there instead. It’s good for the team to get the jersey up the road. I also took some time bonuses so I’m fifth on GC, which means our team car will be close to the front for the climbers tomorrow.”
Travis McCabe finished in 12th place on the stage that took the riders on a flat and fast 167.5 km route starting and finishing in downtown Sacramento. Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors) was the stage victor.
“We had Jonny in the break all day, which took the pressure off of us,” McCabe said. “Coming into the last kilometer, I was with Greg Henderson. I had a good position, sitting where I wanted to be, probably a little further back that what was ideal, but at that speed you have to take what you can get. I was on Sagan’s wheel until the last corner. Coming out of it, I got pushed around and went from top 5 to top 10. It happens in a heartbeat, and it’s a mistake that I’m learning from.”
Clarke and his breakaway companions were caught in the closing kilometers of the race as the sprinter teams swarmed to the front to set up lead out trains.
“We wanted to stay safe and open up the legs,” McCabe said. “I’m happy with where I am, I think the team’s happy and we’re excited for what’s to come.”
Tomorrow’s stage takes the riders from Modesto to San Jose. There are five KOMs to tackle along the way, including the HC categorized Mt. Hamilton climb before the riders descend into San Jose for the finish.